The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) says it has taken measures to ensure that frequent power interruption in Livingstone, surrounding areas, and Western Province experienced last week are addressed.

In a statement, ERB consumer and public affairs director Fred Hang’andu stated that the power interruptions were as a result of a fault on a power cable and the tripping of one of the circuit breakers.

“The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has taken measures to ensure that the frequent power interruption in Livingstone and surrounding areas, and Western Province experienced in the week of 13th May to 19th May 2018 are addressed as soon as possible by ZESCO limited with minimal inconveniences to consumers in the affected areas. To forestall intermittent interruptions, the ERB is engaging ZESCO Limited to address the challenges affecting supply in the affected areas. Our preliminary investigation into the recent power supply interruptions in the affected areas so far point to the following. The power interruption on 17 May 2018 was a result of a fault on a power cable at the 11/22kV transformer at Victoria falls Hydro Power station which occurred around 15 hours,” he said.

“This fault has since been rectified by ZECSO Limited. The power interruptions on 18th May 2018 were as a result of the tripping of one of the circuit breakers for 33/22kV transformer at Victoria fall Power Hydro Station which occurred around 18 hours, as well as the automated, unintended closing od the water intake gates for one of the stations. In both cases, a preliminary analysis of the incidents pointed to malfunctioning of the respective controllers. In this vein, ZESCO Limited has indicated that it has already embarked on a project to upgrade its Victoria falls Hydro Power station controllers to enhance power reliability. The utility has scheduled to complete this project by September 2018. Victoria falls hydro-Power station is connected (parallel) to the national power grid via the Muzuma substation in Choma through the Mazuma-vic falls 220kV transmission line. However, from 1th May 2018, Victoria falls Hydro Power station has been operating independently from the national grid, in island form. This is to pave way for upgrade works on the Muzuma-Livingstone transmission line which is being upgraded from 220kV to 330kV.”

He stated that ERB would continue investigating causes of power outages in a bid to enhance reliability.

“In view of this isolation, in which the Victoria falls Power station was operating at the material times of the power outages, there was no alternative power source from the rest of the country to supply the customers in the affected areas. Nonetheless, ZESCO has indicated that Victoria Falls Hydro Power station will be connected back to the national grid by 27th May 2018 while the entire upgrade works of the Muzuma-Vic transmission line will be completed by 30th June 2018. Meanwhile ERB inspectors have continued with investigations to inform its decision-making process on these outages so as to ensure compliance to license conditions by ZESCO limited.”